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EC Fears Violence in NRM Primaries Could Spill Over to General Elections

The Electoral Commission has expressed concern that the violence witnessed in the recently concluded National Resistance Movement (NRM) parliamentary and Local Government primary elections may be transferred to the 2021 general elections.

The Electoral Commission Chairman Justice Simon Byabakama told reporters on Thursday that the unfortunate incidents may be seen in the general elections because the stakeholders are the same.

“For the fear that this might spill over to the general elections, in one way you may say yes, it can. Why? because the actors are the same. The same Ugandan people who were involved in those violent episodes during the NRM primaries, the candidates who were participating in those elections are the same people,” he said.

Byabakama condemned the violent acts, adding that they should have no room in Uganda’s electoral process.

“The violence that played in NRM primaries was very unfortunate, not necessary and has no place or room in our democratic processes especially elections. Violence is a setback to the efforts that various citizens of this country have made in putting in place mechanisms and measures that allow the citizens of Uganda to elect their leaders or leaders of their choice in a peaceful manner. It is a serious throwback on those efforts,” he said.

Many stakeholders in the election especially opposition political parties have since expressed concern that such violence may be transferred to the 2021 general election.

Byabakama said that the Commission is working hard to ensure that 2021 general election is peaceful.

“We have moved quiet a distance in trying to ensure that leaders are chosen not through violent means or do not come into office through violent means but through a peaceful process that is peaceful and transparent and Electoral Commission stands by those attributes; peaceful, transparent, free and fair elections.”

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He however noted that as the Electoral Commission, they do not want to be pessimistic to conclude that having seen what transpired in NRM primaries, it will therefore be transferred to the general election.

“We are now embarking on the program of traversing the country addressing various stakeholders (security, local leaders, religious leaders, political parties representatives among others) and speak out against these unfortunate monsters of violence that are rearing their ugly heads in our elections,” said Byabakama

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